Language is Leadership – Dr Dione Howard interviews Dr Holly Ludeman, Steven Bolt and John Cunnington from The Livestock Collective

In this episode of Leadership is Language Young Farming Champion Dione Howard talks to the leadership team and founding members of The Livestock Collective (TLC)

Inspired by the vision of the Centre for Food Integrity (CFI) in the United States and Canada Dr Holly Ludeman has created a whole of supply chain movement to build relationships of transparency and trust between livestock producers and consumers

Like the CFI Holly and her team at TLC are bringing together livestock producers to empower and support them to develop best practices and engage with consumers on issues of trust, transparency and sustainability.

We provide a united voice for the livestock supply chain. We care about Australia’s livestock sector from farms through to communities around the world. Source 

The Leadership Collective is a great example of how adversity can create opportunities for people to step up and lead, and that leadership arises as much, if not more so, from the bottom up as it does from the top down

Our key takeaways from Dione’s interview with Dr Holly Ludeman, Steven Bolt and John Cunnington from The Livestock Collective are:

  • Farmers are passionate people who are proud of what they do.
  • Consumers are interested in the origins of their food and want the opportunity to talk to the people who produce their food.
  • Agriculture can no longer stick its head in the sand and say I am a legal business leave me alone
  • Its hard to stick your head out on your own, we are stronger together, together we can support and lift each other up
  • We can train our farmers to have conversations where they can discover what consumers care about and find common ground for connection and collaboration.
  • We can create safe spaces where everyone has an opportunity to be heard and understood.
  • We all have different areas of expertise and its important that we speak to those areas of expertise.
  • Respect that we all have different lived experiences and life journeys, if you can’t engage politely, don’t engage.
  • There is great power in authenticity, people love hearing from people who are living the experiences


Dr Holly Ludeman is a veterinarian and agricultural scientist and has been involved extensively in all parts of the livestock export industry, both in Australia and importing markets. Holly is the founder and managing director of the The Livestock Collective as well as employed as a Corporate Governance and Compliance officer for Emanuel Exports

Steven Bolt is the Stud Principal for Claypans Merino Stud. Steven sits on a number of industry representative groups including the board of the Live Export Advisory Group and is President of the Stud Merino Breeder Association.

John Cunnington is the Business development Manager of Halleen Australasian Livestock Traders Pty Ltd as well as the Chair of West Australian Livestock Exporters Association, Director of Australian Livestock Exporters Council, Chair of Young Livestock Exporters Network and a Director of The Livestock Collective.

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Dr Dione Howard is a District Veterinarian with Riverina Local Land Services based in Wagga Wagga, NSW. Dione won the 2021 Sydney Royal Easter Show Rural Achiever award. Dione is currently the Chair of the Youth Voices Leadership Team and a founding member since its inception in 2018, previously holding the positions of Mentor Leader, Innovation Leader and Vice Chair.

Dione’s seat on the YVLT Executive is enhanced by her completion of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) Company Directors Course, which she undertook in conjunction with her role as Wool Producer’s Youth Ambassador in 2019.

“What keeps me coming back to YVLT and the YFC community is being able to assist young agriculturalists to achieve their goals and extend their leadership and communication capabilities. Since I’ve been a YFC our team has achieved some amazing things. The future is very bright for this group and if you’re thinking about it, now is the right time to apply to be a Young Farming Champion!”



 Dione Howard


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